Why Do Things Smell?

45 Answers

Annie Devore Profile
Annie Devore answered
To Let Us Experience Skunks And Cesspools And Baking Bread And Home Made Brownies The Cesspool Smells Putrid To Warn Us.. The Bread Smells Grand To Tempt Us..  Sulphur Turns My Stomach  Like Rotting Potatoes... Homemade Chili Makes  Me Hungry... It Your Nose Is Stuffed You Can't Taste Anything Because Ear Nose And Throat Are All Connected..
Thomas Profile
Thomas answered
Atomic element(s) &/or molecular compound(s) float from these things into the air which you breathe. Your receptoring &/or sensory biocells will be stimulated by these incoming particles from the air & transmit electrical impulses into your motoring neuronic cells. These electrical impulses will be be forwarded to your brain cells eventually & you'll come to your senses.
thanked the writer.
greg gowen
greg gowen commented
Well thats the simple answer, but whats the science behind it?
Ady Mat
Ady Mat commented
You have given excellent answer to this otherwise mind boggling question. Great Job!
Ricky -------
Ricky ------- commented
Go science! Lawl.
-Nightmare7
Simon Templar Profile
Simon Templar answered
I think a far more fascinating question might be: Why do we have the capacity to detect odor.

Things smell for two reasons - objects are comprised of particles, some of which are released into the open air.  The particles are small enough to ride wind and often land upon other objects, such as the hair in ones nose.  To complement this, most organisms are designed to catch some degree of these floating bits and process them as information.  The information that is pulled in through one's nasal cavities is simply called a "smell".
yarnlady Profile
yarnlady answered
It's not that things smell, so much as we have receptors to detect the odors coming from them. Just as we have the ability to detect certain light waves, temperature, texture, sound waves, and such.  There are light wave lengths that our eyes cannot see, there are some scents that we can't smell.

Your question is sort of like saying why is the sky blue, or why does life exist on earth. It is, because that's the way it is.
Ady Mat Profile
Ady Mat answered
For good smells because of their certain chemical properties. And same can be written for bad smell also but add little more description here, when the cells/compounds of certain things start rotting/decomposed etc. They start releasing unpleasant chemical to make them smell bad.

I guess this is not that bad answer to one of the toughest/mind boggling but yet interesting question.
The Instigator Profile
The Instigator answered
My answer is more about perception and appreciation of smells. "one man's rose is another man's feces." Nearly everyone appreciates the fragrance of fresh-cut flowers, but the stench from the sewer plant across town is usually unwelcome. Both have a distinctive smell, which is the most general of these words for what is perceived through the nose, but there is a big difference between a pleasant smell and a foul one. The one exception I have found is that humans smell both literally and figuratively.
Midnite star Profile
Midnite star answered
I would have to agree with the scientific explanations given here & also with the simple idea that our own noses define what we're "smelling". Or IF it "smells.".  Like was said....our perception of what smells good or bad is a personal & individual occurrence. You may love the "scent" of my perfume, yet another person may think it "smells" rancid. Same perfume, on same person, yet different opinions. It's the Nose that knows !!
William Harkin Profile
William Harkin answered
We like things that smell nice (but that is purely personal),but veer away from things that are rotten,and rancid,(but the insects love those smells)
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
If things don't smell you don't know if it is yummy or not yummy stink or does not stink.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I know I won't help much. Maybe it's because you need to know what things smell like. If you know what flowers and brocoli is but can't see it then maybe you can sniff it out. You wouldn't want to go into poison.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Scientists believe they may have found out why we all smell and taste things very differently.

Our ability to smell and taste is regulated by around 1,000 genes, over half of which are totally inactive.

However, a study by researchers in Israel has identified at least 50 of
these genes, which are switched on in some people and not in others.

They believe this may explain why some of us adore some smells and tastes while others abhor them.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute say their study shows that nearly
every human being displays a different pattern of active and inactive
odour-detecting receptors.

These receptors determine how our brain reads flavours in food as well as smells.

The huge variation occurs because different receptors are switched on
in different people and also because their sensitivity also differs.

The researchers have also found evidence to suggest people from
different ethnic groups perceive aromas and flavours differently.

Industry revolution

They suggested their findings could revolutionise the way food, drink and perfume manufactures work.

At the moment, many companies base a decision on whether or not to make
particular products on the reaction of test panels, usually comprising
just a few people.

The researchers suggest these companies might want to rethink this policy in light of their findings.

But they also believe that these companies could one day test the potential popularity of their products using a computer chip.

They suggest these chips could be designed so that they replicate the taste and smell preferences of target markets.

Companies that make foods, perfumes and similar products have already started to keep a close eye on research in this area.

'Fragrances are more about art than science at the moment,' said Dr
Tony Curtis, who teaches on the aroma and fragrances degree course at
the University of Plymouth.

'Everybody is looking for a scientific platform on which they can create fragrances.

'They would like to shorten the development cycle of products and minimise the risk,' he said.

'We know how we see and how we hear. People are struggling to understand how we smell.

'But certainly when we get there it will revolutionise how people construct fragrances and how we evaluate them.'

The study is published in the journal Nature Genetics.
John Profile
John answered
God made things smell so you could tell whether they were edible or not .or if the plants were for a medicinal use or a poison. Also to tell you if something is of a good fragrance or not for purposing the plant  for food use or perfumes,soaps,things like that. This is my story and I'm sticking to it.also serves to tell you whether or not something is spoiled/so you don't eat something that can make you sick or deathly ill.same thing with your taste. So you can make a decision when you come in contact with something that does not smell or taste right to you.I guess you could say God gave you this ability to have common "sense" if something is good or bad for you to inhale or ingest.in other words a built in warning system.but you also have to learn what smells are okay or sould trigger your smell detector/nose to tell you whether to run  or not. Along with your other senses.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Do you mean to ask, how do we smell things ?
Everything is made of chemicals.
Chemicals react with sensors in our nose in various complicated ways
This is turned into electrical signals in our brain.
In our brain, these signals are combined with memories, and instincts, to result in powerful emotional reactions.

The smell is in your mind, not on the 'thing'

Your questions is similar to asking, 'Why are things visible ?'
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
That's like a scientific question. I guess it's because things emit an odour and your nose hair nerve endings pick up on the various concentrations of smell and signal this to your brain. I guess this is why some people think some things smell differently, because every brain signal is different fro everyone.

Also because biodegradable degrade and it is also used for mating purposes in animals and humans (with fera mones etc).
jamie wise Profile
jamie wise answered
I think things smell to help warn us of something bad that we don't want to get into and for good smells to welcome us and keep us happy :)
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
What I heard from a science teacher is that certain things don't actually smell, your brain associates a smell with them.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Because with out smell we would not be able to breathe because you need to breathe when you smell
Ted Janzen Profile
Ted Janzen answered
Things smell because of vapor being released by molecules on organic matter.  This vapor is similar to steam.
Ricky ------- Profile
Ricky ------- answered
Hmm, I don't really know... I'm guessing it's all about what its made up of. Like .... Let's say an apple or fresh fruit. It's made of ingredients that smell good! Then... I'm guessing it triggers your nose or brain, and almost tells you like a computer.
-Nightmare7
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The positively charged neutrons respond with the neutrally charged protons and similtaniously implode with the natural bionics and create smell.
Maxine Chan Profile
Maxine Chan answered
To get in touch with your sense of smell and to make you feel good. Ahh the smell of sex. Lol
Ted Janzen Profile
Ted Janzen answered
Because fo the Thetans in your body. Thetans are the ghostly souls that Scientologist beleive live in your body. Can you beleive these cray sickos ACTUALLY beleive in this stuff?

Answer Question

Anonymous